Typhoon Khunan churns near Okinawa on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023, in this satellite image from the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Typhoon Khunan churns near Okinawa on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023, in this satellite image from the Japan Meteorological Agency. (Japan Meteorological Agency)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Typhoon Khanun’s destructive winds have injured more than 30 people and are expected to lash Japan’s island prefecture until Thursday morning, according to forecasters that include the weather flight at Kadena Air Base.

Thirty-four people were hurt, with three seriously injured, according to the Okinawa prefectural government. Transportation ground to a halt, the typhoon damaged homes and stores closed as the storm moved through. Many hospitals were only receiving emergency cases.

At 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Khanun was centered 60 miles west of Naha with sustained winds of 50 mph and gusts of 75 mph, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. The typhoon was “very large” and moving west-northwest at 7 mph.

The agency predicted heavy rain and a risk of landslides until 3 a.m. Thursday, and storm surge and high waves until Thursday evening.

The slow-moving storm has knocked out electricity to more than 215,000 households, the Okinawa Electric Power Co. reported on its website Wednesday. Storm footage from public broadcaster NHK showed uprooted trees in the prefecture and river flooding in Okinawa city. Khanun is being blamed for at least one death; a 90-year-old man was crushed on the island Tuesday night when his garage collapsed from strong winds, the NHK report said.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remained at Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness-1E throughout Wednesday, meaning the installations are experiencing sustained winds of 58 mph or greater. Outdoor activity is prohibited.

Khanun barreled into the area Tuesday night and made its closest approach — 60 miles southwest of Kadena — at 4 a.m. Wednesday, the base’s weather flight said in an email that morning.

Kadena experienced gusts of up to 90 mph, according to the weather flight, while other parts of the prefecture have seen 145 mph winds, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Okinawa island is home to the lion’s share of the approximately 80,000 U.S. service members stationed in Japan, and to installations of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Khanun passes the island two months after Typhoon Mawar brushed Guam, a U.S. island territory about 1,415 miles southeast of Okinawa. Guam residents, including the island’s sizeable military community, were without water and power in some sections for weeks afterward; final stages of the cleanup are still underway.

Check Stars and Stripes’ Pacific Storm Tracker for frequent updates.

The Associated Press, Matthew M. Burke and Keishi Koja contributed to this story.

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Keishi Koja is an Okinawa-based reporter/translator who joined Stars and Stripes in August 2022. He studied International Communication at the University of Okinawa and previously worked in education.
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Matthew M. Burke has been reporting from Grafenwoehr, Germany, for Stars and Stripes since 2024. The Massachusetts native and UMass Amherst alumnus previously covered Okinawa, Sasebo Naval Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, for the news organization. His work has also appeared in the Boston Globe, Cape Cod Times and other publications.

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